To determine what types of food leopards eat, researchers with the Wildlife Conservation Society in India studied 85 leopard fecal samples in a rural section of western Maharashtra (the same state where Mumbai is located). Back in a lab, the researchers looked for signs of claws, hoofs and hair and other indigestible parts of unlucky prey in the leopard droppings.
Surprisingly, the discovered that the most common food for leopards were dogs and domestic cats. Dogs formed 39 percent of the leopards’ diet while domestic cats formed 15 percent. In comparison, livestock were a relatively small portion of the leopard diet. Domestic goats accounted for just 11 percent of the mass of the big cats’ meals, even though they were seven times more abundant than dogs in the study area.